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The story behind the rainbow flag - a look into the past.

The story behind the rainbow flag

No matter whether CSD's take place in the classic way, or - as is common in 2020 - in a virtual way thanks to Corona, it is pretty much always there: the Rainbow flag. What many people interpret as an expression of a colourful society, however, has much more to offer. Because: the rainbow flag can look back on a long history.

And: some flags that are interpreted as rainbow flags are actually so-called pace flags. But what is the difference? And what message is to be conveyed with the different representations?

Basics: each colour has its own meaning

Even if at first glance the focus is on the large number of colours, it should never be forgotten when looking at the rainbow flag that each colour stands for its own message.

It is precisely this aspect that makes the flag so meaningful in many respects. While red symbolises love, for example, the colour yellow stands for the sun and joie de vivre. The connection to nature, on the other hand, is to be underlined by the green stripe.

What is the difference between the rainbow flag and the pace flag?

The Pace (in German: "peace") flag differs - as already mentioned - only slightly from the classic rainbow flag. Its history can be traced back to the 1960s and originated in Italy.

Unlike the rainbow flag, however, it starts with purple and ends with red. So it is exactly the other way round than the queer symbol. Otherwise, both flags are identical - except for an additional light blue stripe and the sometimes integrated lettering ("PACE").

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Said Pace flag is closely linked to the peace movement and accordingly stands for similar, but not exactly the same, values as the rainbow flag.

Versatile stories around the rainbow flag

In the course of time, many stories developed around the origin of the rainbow flag. Particularly well-known in this context is the tale that the creator of said flag several decades ago thought of a famous song by Judy Garland from "The Wizard of Oz" ("Somewhere over the Rainbow").

Many gays see Garland as one of the most famous Scene-icons at all. Their song was (and is) frequently played at CSDs and, for example, also in the context of Drag Shows performed.

Accordingly, it is certainly thanks to her, among others, that the Rainbow flag plays exactly the great role for the gay and lesbian movement that queers all over the world love it for today.

If you feel like taking an even deeper look into the past and into the history of the rainbow flag, you will even end up in the 16th century! Even though the rainbow was not yet depicted in flag form here, it was particularly present in connection with various artistic creations, for example.

Many cultures used the symbol back then to underline their fight for independence. Gays also make use of this aspect with the use of the famous flag... Even if many people are not aware of this exciting connection between the colours and the representation of one's own identity.

The rainbow flag as an important symbol for tolerance and diversity

Today, the rainbow flag stands for the gay scene, tolerance and cohesion as rarely before. Regardless of how the combination of colours is interpreted in detail, it thus manages to unite people of different preferences among themselves.

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In the meantime, a real cult status has developed around the symbol with the impressive history. Many companies also take up the pattern and incorporate it, for example, into various "special editions" of their products.

This is much more than "just" a marketing ploy. Rather, the decision to wrap popular items in the mantle of the rainbow flag represents an important statement that may even contribute to an even more open society and should therefore not be underestimated.


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